in the senate for us. how does austerity look for ordinary italians? >> the big weakness of this budget is it puts off some many of the cuts and tax increases until 2013, 2014. that is not coincidental. there is a general election in june 2013. all of this will have to be done by the next government. in the meantime, there is going to be a gaming tax, increased health charges, cuts in pensions, but only for the highest pensions -- and in italy, pensions are pretty generous. this is not a budget which in the short-term is going to lead anybody into destitution. >> in other news, syrian pro- democracy activists say government forces have killed at least nine people as protests against the president continue. reports indicate the military crackdown on opposition activists in damascus and hana. police have arrested members of opposition supporters. non-governmental organizations say at least 1600 people have been killed since the uprising began four months ago. 13 turkish soldiers have been killed in an attack in the southeast of the country. officials say kurdish militants ambushed troops.